The death of a relative or friend is always distressing. But if it happens abroad the distress can be made worse by practical problems. Consular Directorate in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our Embassy in Sweden are ready to help in any way that they can. You may be uncertain what to do next or who to contact for advice. These notes are designed to help you through the practical arrangements you will need to make.
You should be aware that Swedish procedures may differ to those in the United Kingdom. While we understand your need to make arrangements as quickly as possible, this may not always be possible.
Standard Procedures Following the death of a British national in Sweden, next of kin, or a formally appointed representative, must decide whether to cremate or repatriate the deceased to the UK, or carry out a local burial. Your first step should be to appoint a funeral director. The last page of this information pack contains a list of international funeral directors and consular staff at the Stockholm Embassy can provide you with a list of funeral directors in Sweden. They can also help you get in contact with the funeral directors, the police, the hospital and the Coroner’s office. Consular staff in London will liaise with colleagues in Sweden and pass on information to next of kin in the UK.
If the deceased was covered by travel insurance, it is important for next of kin to contact the insurance company without delay. If there is no insurance cover, the cost of repatriation or burial will need to be met by the family. Neither the Foreign and Commonwealth Office nor our Embassy in Stockholm has budgets to meet these costs.
It is important to remember that if the deceased was travelling with a tour operator, they can be a valuable source of assistance and advice.
Repatriation If the deceased was covered by travel insurance, the insurance company will normally appoint an International funeral director to arrange repatriation. If the deceased is not covered by insurance, next of kin will need to appoint an International funeral director, themselves. You will find a list of companies at the end of this document. The International funeral director will liaise with local undertakers to ensure that all necessary requirements are met in Sweden.
When the deceased is to be repatriated, the remains must be embalmed and placed in a zinc-lined coffin.
Local undertakers in Sweden are equipped to carry out these procedures. A local civil registry death certificate, plus the doctor's death certificate , a certificate of embalming, and a certificate giving permission to transfer the remains to the UK is required to ship the body. This will be arranged by the international/local funeral director.
Local Burial If next of kin choose to proceed with a local burial, they will need to instruct a local funeral director. Our Embassy in Stockholm can provide a list of funeral directors on request and can help with practical arrangements.
Inquests In the event of a death in Sweden, the local police will consider the evidence. If the circumstances of the death were not unusual, registration of the death is permitted and the body will be released for repatriation, cremation or burial. However, if the police are not satisfied after the preliminary examination, a post mortem may be required.
In cases of accident or misadventure, a report of the Forensic Institute’s findings will be issued and experience has shown that this can take several months. However, if death was caused by a criminal act, the police will be ordered to conduct a full investigation.
Post mortems are carried out by doctors with forensic qualifications. During a post mortem, organs can be removed for testing at the discretion of the Pathologist, without consent from next of kin. The deceased’s body will not be released until the tests are done and the organs have been returned.
Organs cannot be removed for any purpose other than testing without prior consent of the deceased (for research) or next of kin (transplants).
UK Coroners When a body is repatriated to England or Wales, a coroner will hold an inquest only if the death was violent or unnatural, or if the death was sudden and the cause unknown. In some countries the cause of death is not given on the death certificate, and coroners do not generally have access to judicial files from other countries. Consequently coroners may order a post-mortem as part of the inquest.
In Scotland, the Scottish Executive is the responsible authority. However, they are not obliged to hold an inquest into cause of death.
Coroners in Northern Ireland are also not obliged to hold an inquest into cause of death. However, next of kin can apply for a judicial review if no inquest is held.
British nationals without the available means to appoint legal representation can apply for legal aid in most European countries.
There is no obligation for the death overseas of a British national to be registered in the UK. However, by doing so, a British form of death certificate is then available, and a record of the death is held at the General Register Office in the UK.
To register a death in Sweden, please see:
Or alternatively, write to:
Overseas Registration Unit
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
A British passport is a very valuable document and the problem with identity theft is becoming more common. It is therefore important to ensure that we take all necessary steps to prevent the passport from being used fraudulently. The passport of the deceased should be returned to the Consular Section of the British Embassy accompanied with a completed D1 form, informing us to either cancel the passport and return it to you or to cancel the passport and dispose of it safely on your behalf.
For further enquiries , please contact:
115 93 Stockholm
or call the Consular section on +46 (0) 8 671 30 00
International Funeral Directors based in the United Kingdom
Disclaimer: Every care has been taken compiling this list. However, Her Majesty’s Government cannot act as guarantor of the competence or probity of any particular company, nor can they be held responsible in any way for consequences arising from advice accepted or action initiated.
All the above companies can take calls in English.
Last updated 9th March 2016
Disclaimer: Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of this information but it is not exhaustive and the British Embassy in Stockholm cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions.
Issued by the Consular Section in Stockholm, Sweden.